A Real High
CoC chats with Heather Thompson of Tapping the Vein
by: Adrian Bromley
The feeling of success for many artists comes to them in many levels. Some want to sell millions of records, tour all over the world and have their faces splattered over hundreds of magazine covers -- while others just want to be able to create music and have good enough distribution to get their music out to the fans.

Tapping the Vein singer Heather Thompson just wants to be heard. Plain and simple.

"I love what I do and I just want people, no matter how many out there, to just listen to what we create with this band and enjoy it as much as we do."

The band's debut for Nuclear Blast, titled _The Damage_, follows two successful indie releases: _Undone_ (a six-song EP) and _Butterfly_ (a five-song EP). With a lot of hard work under their belts already, Thompson admits that the band was ready for bigger and better things by jumping to Nuclear Blast.

"This needed to happen", she admits. "We [the band is rounded out by drummer/sampler/programmer Eric Fisher, guitarist Mark Burkett and bassist Joe Rolland -- Adrian] were ready for this and coming to Nuclear Blast. We released several EPs that we sold at our shows and through our website and we just wanted to get to the next level. We tried to get on several other labels in the US but they didn't really get it. A lot of the label executives were telling us that they weren't sure on signing something that wouldn't sell. Nuclear Blast eventually came around and was interested and we felt that we needed to do this and take advantage of a label that was willing to sign us and work with us."

And the approach to the debut offering for Nuclear Blast when compared to the EPs?

"We actually didn't really do anything different to what we had done with the previous albums. It was pretty much the same thing, even the same producer as the second EP. The difference was the way the record was assembled. The album was assembled over a year's time because of conflicting work schedules and playing shows and just trying to find time to make all of this work. It was just one problem after another and we had to work around it."

"If anything, we just tried to get the music out as fast as we could so that we could get the record out and to our fans who have been with us for a long time. Being on NBA is also allowing us to tour and get out to these new cities we have never played before and to meet our fans -- and gain new ones, hopefully."

While Thompson is proud of being on a big label with massive distribution worldwide, she is well aware of how the music industry works and is still very cautious.

"We looked at making the record like this. This may be the only chance that we be able to put out a record, so we made sure that we had solid songs and some of the popular songs from our previous EPs."

Was it hard to add new material to work alongside the four songs ("Butterfly", "Beautiful", "Everything" and "Broken") chosen from the EPs that were already popular amongst their roster of material?

"We really didn't have a problem assembling songs to go along with the older material", she says. "I'd say pretty much throughout our career, the band has had the same kind of sound coating the material, kind of like a electronic feel to things and that carries on into the new album. Plus with the same vocal styles throughout, it has kept things consistent, really. I think the older songs are a bit more metal and goth-ish, but there is a definite consistency, and when we play them side by side they match well."

"I actually am not a fan of the whole recording process", sighs the singer about studio work. "I mean, I just can't stand being in the studio and hearing my voice played back all the time. It is cool if it works out, but if there are many takes, it gets to me. I prefer to do the whole performance thing. I get a lot out of just standing on stage and barring these emotional feelings and thoughts, basically just being completely exposed to the people in attendance. And at the end of the song, when there is that total and complete appreciation for that song, there is no price tag that you can put on that unconditional acceptance."

She continues, "Just get me on stage and let me go. I think that is where the magic comes from the band and it just leaves me on such an emotional high. I think people who have come to our shows will agree that we do deliver an emotional high live. It really is a rush."

In closing, I ask why music fans should care about the band and go pick up the new record. What does Tapping the Vein offer to music fans?

"Someone asked me that recently, saying, "Why should I buy _The Damage_?" I didn't really know what to say. I tried to describe the music and it just ended up sounding really ridiculous with the way it was being described to them. All I can really say is that the people who write to us and tell us how they feel about the band and how they are so excited about the band and the lyrics really makes me feel good", she states. "It makes me feel good that they are getting something out of this and exploring our emotions with us."

She ends, "We have always offered up a return policy with the thousands and thousands of EPs that we have sold, telling fans that we will buy them back with cash if they are not happy with what they get, and not one has ever been returned. So I take that as a good sign and I hope those who pick up the CD will find comfort in what we do and not want to return it. <laughs> I'm confident they won't."

So am I.

(article submitted 3/7/2002)

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